Presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo posed a challenge to her supporters: exercise sobriety and constraint online, and initiate efforts to heal the wounds inflicted by political differences with their loved ones.
The Philippine opposition leader acknowledged in her latest Facebook video on Tuesday, November 16, how the toxic political climate in the run-up to the 2022 elections has divided even families and friends.
She urged her “Kakampinks” – the term referring to her supporters who wear her pink campaign color – to be humble and be the first to reach out to those who do not necessarily share their political beliefs.
“Panahon na. Tayo na ang magsimula. Lumapit sa mga nakaalitan. Kung may makita sa social media na hindi naaayon sa mga pinaniniwalaan natin, magpaliwanag nang mahinahon at may respeto. Magpakumbaba,” said Robredo.
(It's time. Let's take the first step. Reach out to those you had aguments with. If you see someone online who have different views than yours, explain to them calmly and with respect. Be humble.)
“Mangumusta. Makipag-usap. Hilumin ang mga sugat. Buksan muli ang landas ng pagmamahal,” she added.
(Check on them. Talk to them. Heal the wounds. Reopen the path to love.)
The Vice President issued the call as her supporters got increasingly engaged in heated exchanges online with not just supporters of administration-allied candidates, but also the supporters of leftist electoral aspirants.
No stranger to vicious attacks online, Robredo explained that there are forces out there who deliberately work to make Filipinos fight each other, especially online, so they could advance their own agenda.
She reminded her supporters that their enemy is not their fellow Filipinos and that the difficult task of reaching out to others outside their own echo chambers is what “radical love” truly means.
“Ipaalala ang katotohanan: Hindi natin kalaban ang ating kapwa. Iisa ang pinagdadaanan natin. Iisa ang mga pangarap natin. At iisa ang landas tungo rito: matino, makatao, at mapagmahal na pamamahala,” said Robredo.
(Remind them about the truth: We are not each other's enemies. We are going through the same things. We have the same dreams. And there's only one way to achieve this: decent, humane, and loving governance.)
"Hindi ito magiging madali, pero ito mismo ang ibig sabihin kapag sinabi nating radikal ang magmahal. Pipiliin natin ang tama; lalabas tayo sa nakasanayan. Ito mismo ang diwa ng paglaban,” she added.
(It's not going to be easy, but this is precisely what we mean when we say it's radical to love. We will choose to do what is right; we will step out of our comfort zone. This is the true spirit of our fight.)
Since she officially declared her candidacy, Robredo has been releasing two to three-minute videos every Tuesday to issue reminders or campaign bulletins to help organize her supporters ahead of the 2022 campaign period.
The Robredo camp also wears pink every Wednesday to promote her presidential campaign.
Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at email@example.com or tweet @maracepeda.